"Sinners can become saints, but the corrupt cannot.”
This was the message that came from the Pope today, during his homily, at the daily Mass he celebrates at Casa Santa Marta. "Be watchful, every day, so that you don’t end up far from the Lord," the Pope said. Using the example of David and Solomon, from today’s readings, he spoke of David as a saint, even if he was a sinner, versus the great and wise Solomon, who on the other hand, was rejected by the Lord because he was corrupt.
The Pope warns of the risk, to which we are all exposed of weakness of the heart, and explains that "When the heart begins to weaken, it is not like a situation of sin: you commit a sin, and you realize it immediately. “I have committed this sin”; it’s clear. Weakness of the heart is a slow journey, that slides along step by step, step by step… and Solomon, adorned in his glory and in his fame, began to take that road.
"Weakness of the heart can happen to all of us in life. What do we do then?" The answer, the Pope said, is vigilance. “Be watchful. Guard your heart. Every day, be careful about what is happening in your heart
Pope Francis also expressed his solidarity with the people of Taiwan after two high-magnitude earthquakes devastated the country on Tuesday, killing at the latest report, nine people, and injuring hundreds more.
In a telegram sent by the Vatican following the earthquake, “the Pope offered the assurance of his prayers, for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured. He encourages the civil authorities and emergency personnel engaged in the rescue efforts, and he willingly invokes upon all the Taiwanese people, the divine blessings of strength and peace,"
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked Taiwan on February 6th causing immense destruction and leaving some skyscrapers leaning at sharp angles. But almost before anything could be done, a second high-magnitude earthquake slammed the same region. The magnitude 5.7 quake was centered in roughly the same area.
To the Holy Land now, where, despite the growing political tensions, pilgrimages to Jerusalem are on the rise. Statistics recently released by Israel’s Christian Information Centre showed that last month, they had 770 registered pilgrimage groups, totaling over 26,000 pilgrims to Jerusalem. January last year showed only 529 groups registered, and consequently, only 390 pilgrimage groups visited in January of 2016.
While the transition of the American embassy to Jerusalem has exacerbated regional tension in recent months, so the number of Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land is increasing.
Now here’s an interesting story about how a graffiti artist in Rome is helping to fund the Vatican's charitable works. You may recall the SuperPope T-shirts made by Italian artist Mauro Pallotta, based on graffiti he made of the Pope, that started showing up on the streets of Rome last year.
Well, yesterday a Vatican news conference kicked-off a new initiative that unveiled one of those popular SuperPope T-shirts, that will be auctioned off with the autographs of many famous signatures at the end of the summer.
The artist, Mauro Pallotta, told reporters yesterday that he was "enormously happy and proud" about the latest initiative and that the message behind his work, was finally understood. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to Peter's Pence, a collection that is used by the Pope for emergency relief, medical assistance to those in need and the construction of schools and hospitals in poor areas.
Now, if you are like me, however, and probably can’t afford what the t-shirt will most likely sell for, you can get a similar “SuperPope” shirt online, at superpope.it
. Proceeds from each sale will also go to the “Peter's Pence Charity”.
Now that is all that we have time for this week. Join us again Monday, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens. Thanks for Joining us.